Interview with Hugo from Pouzza Fest

Brad from School Damage interviewed Hugo about Pouzza 6 for me in exchange for guest list to the Mini-Pouzza Party in Toronto last weekend. Here's how it went.....

Is it true that Pouzza almost didn't happen this year?
Hugo: Yeah sure, it was ongoing debts and we are regular people with no money to our names! So yeah, me and my partner weren't sure if we were going to do it again because it was too much and we had to find a way to pay all of that, but we ended up associating with other people.

New sponsors, you got Beau's this time!
H: Yeah, we got new sponsors, and also new people in the company like the people from Stomp Records, my friend Graeme from Leatherface and Guilhem from Lost Love and my lawyer another of my old friends, so all of us together put enough money in to pay the debts and now we're good, we've got Beau's involved, le Trou du diable which is another microbrewery from Quebec, and Sailor Jerry is still on board since Pouzza number 2 so with those great sponsors we were able to make it happen again! And for the next two years... we have signed contracts for everything.

So it's kind of like a load off, you don't really have to worry about the next few years.
H: Yeah it's a lot less stress for the next few years.. Pouzza #9, 100% sure.

Tight dude!
Every year you have new shit like last year you had the Yoga thing, this year you have the baseball league?
Yeah, baseball tournament!

I'm playing Pouzza Fest and I wouldn't mind playing some baseball! It's on the Saturday right?
Yeah, but you had to register! There's too many registered now.

Oh, I probably forgot. I'll just watch and hang out! So how did baseball get involved, who was behind it?
H: It's me and my friend Julien, we're big fans of baseball and always wanted to do something crazy like that and we decided to do it this year so we rented a park, we have four teams, people from Pouzza and bands can register.

So it's not like bands vs bands or anything like that?
No it's all mixed together, we were trying to make teams that made sense together. And we have team captains, one of them is Bill Lee who used to play for the Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expos and then we have Jean-Jacques who played for Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins.. so we have some Quebec celebrities and all the bands and Easton is sponsoring for gear and all that and there's a batting cage. It's going to be a real event on its own but still Pouzza related because it's still going to be punk rock and kinda stupid in a way..

Everyone will be getting hammered drunk..
Is the outdoor stage the first time you've done that, the Stomp stage?
H: No, we've always done an outdoor stage, since like year 2 or 3!

I remember like, we've played a few times and I remember going by the stage where all the kids stuff was happening..
H: Yeah, same stage!

That's where a lot of the acoustic acts happened I thought, is this year the first time you've had full bands playing that stage?
H: I think it's the 2nd or 3rd year. We work with the city for this and it's, I mean it's right downtown Montreal, there's a lot of tourists and all that so first they gave us a little spot that was only acoustic, then we moved to a bigger spot and they were like ok you can do like bands but only indie'r and reggae and whatever.. and then the year after it was like ok let's try ska, and it worked fine. So no we're doing more full on like Less Than Jake are playing there and Smashers and Big D, and Dead To  Me.. and it's free to everyone, anyone can go.. but Pouzza people with passes can have access to their Pouzza bar that has like 30 different beer and cider and Sailor Jerry drinks... regular people can  get like 2 kinds of beer... it's really cool, it supports the festival and I think it's great for the city of Montreal. There's a lot of festivals going on in Montreal but it's more like francophone music or jazz or whatever and it's really cool to have full on real bands playing downtown Montreal for free, I think it's fantastic!

You've never dealt with any problems from the public of Montreal for having this giant punk festival in 6 years of doing it?
Not at all!

That's incredible dude, that's awesome.
What are you most psyched about for this year? You have some pretty important bands doing some monumental records live..
H: I think Suicide Machines playing Destruction by Definition.. I grew up on that, I was a big fan of that. Even just Less Than Jake playing outdoors for free to me is huge, like it's a band I used to listen to in high school and it's very cool to have them play.. I never thought that could happen.

So for you is it funny to watch it unfurl and be like holy shit, I made this happen!
 Oh yeah it's pretty unreal, everything I've been doing for the last 10 years..

Dude I saw 7 Seconds at Pouzza and that was a huge deal for me when I saw them!
Yeah yeah!

Is there band you're really proud of to see play this year? A band you're like personally psyched to have out?
It's The Hunters 10 year anniversary show which should be very cool. There's also this new band called Blurry Eyes.. they're really good. It's Marc and Louis from The Sainte Catherines, they're 2 of my favourite songwriters and they're doing a new band and it's really really good, I'm excited to see them play.

Huge-o thanks to Brad, Hugo and Melanie!